“Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” —Lou Gehrig
When I look back and reflect, it will be the days I shared with the friendships I’ve made that I’ll cherish most. There is no name to the face in the virtual world. To them, I was no more than words on a page or a voice in their earbuds. Yet they sacrificed time from their families to support my cause and share in the journey. You don’t know how powerfully impactful and humbling that is until it happens to you.
Most cyclists will agree that riding is often more manageable, and more enjoyable, at the least, when you distribute the effort. Cycling is a social endeavor, and commiserating is comfortable when the going gets tough.
All cyclists will agree that there is, at the least, a small amount of hidden competitor in every rider. One bike is a ride, and two is a race, and even if that is the furthest from the participant’s intentions, it happens. You surge up a rise when you would routinely remain steady, pedal through a descent when it usually would be free speed, eating and drinking aren’t as frequent, and no one wants to admit that it’s nature break time again.
With 53 days of accumulated fatigue in my legs, the slight reach takes its toll. I’m riding solo again today. While I’ll never pass up a partner, the thousands of miles have made me okay with it, but I don’t always enjoy the company.
The inner dialogue gets a bit much without an ear to hear my thoughts. All in all, I’ve remained positive. When you think of it, there isn’t any reason I wouldn’t. The experience is incredible, and I’m fortunate for the opportunity.
However, the aches are ganging up. Despite my pledge not to dwell on the pains, they’ve gotten to the point where the sunny side of my subconscious can’t pretend any longer. The pinch in my lower back isn’t going to be ignored.
Like the support I’ve received from the friends I’ve made along the way, the loyalty we’ve received from the employees in our practice is overwhelming. For Kristin and me, our staff is family, and there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for them, and they’d do the same for us without hesitation.
The first person that came to mind was Michele. For almost twenty years, she’s been at my side and not once was I disappointed in her dedication, skill, or compassion. She put us ahead of herself on every occasion. My life wouldn’t be the same without her.
No other person in this world is worthy of continuing the legacy of what we built together. Handing the keys to Michele will always be one of my proudest moments. Watching her thrive in the role I once held is a joy you can’t comprehend until it happens to you.
When Kristin called her best friend Michele after seeing the grimace on my face when I swung my leg over the top tube, she was there. With the skill and compassion I’ve grown to rely on Michele guided Kristin through the stretches necessary to square me away. I feel better already.
Now I have one less ache to not dwell on. I’ll always have Michele to count on. We love and miss you!
About the DIRT Dad Fundo Pledge for Day Fifty-Four—Michele Rauer
Here is what Michele had to say—”I have worked for Chris for 19 years and he has always been an inspiration to me! The quote, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail”, is on a plaque on his desk. That quote says it all about his drive in every aspect of his life! He has taught me how to run a business and to always keep striving for your goals. Nothing is impossible! I am so proud of what he is accomplishing…
Amount Raised to Date—$9,779
Thank you, Michele! We love and miss you so much!
Now off to Schoharie, NY!
To support Chris in his effort to raise awareness of The DIRT Dad Fund, the non-profit he created to assist members of the worldwide cycling community, check out this link to learn more.
Find out where you can pledge a donation and subscribe to The ZOMs newsletter to follow along on the journey.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!